Dahal proposes NC, UML agree on fresh CA poll if consensus fails
KATHMANDU, Sept 19: Even as the major political parties near consensus on all other contentious issues of the new statute, the UCPN(Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) are still at odds over the number of federal provinces under state restructuring.
A joint meeting held at the Special Secretariat at New Baneshwor Tuesday morning ended inconclusively after the parties differed over the number of federal provinces, mainly in the Tarai.
While the Maoists and UDMF rooted for two federal provinces across the Tarai, the NC and UML rejected the proposal outright, according to Acting Chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (Republican) Raj Kishor Yadav.
During the meeting, NC leaders argued that they can go for CA reinstatement only if there is agreement on an 11-province model that includes four provinces across the Tarai. The UML said they could not go for more than seven provinces.
According to Maoist Spokesperson Agni Sapkota, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal floated a proposal to go for CA reinstatement if there was agreement at least on the number of federal provinces, leaving the issues of boundary and names to be settled by an elected parliament.
As there was no consensus on that proposal either, Dahal then proposed that the NC and UML forge consensus on fresh CA elections.
NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel said they have decided to sit again for talks on Wednesday after holding an internal meeting in the party. "There has not been any understanding as yet either on fresh elections or on revival of the CA. We will hold another round of discussions tomorrow [Wednesday]," he told media persons after the meeting.
Paudel said they plan to arrive at a consensus within the next two or three days on whether to go for fresh elections or for revival of the CA as a way to end the political deadlock. "We could not settle the number of federal provinces. We are not clear even about the issue of fresh elections, even in terms electoral constituency and other matters," he further said.
The NC and UML later held a separate meeting to forge a common stance on the issues concerning federal provinces, but without any agreement. Both parties have decided to hold another meeting before sitting for a meeting with the Maoists and UDMF.
While the UML held its standing committee meeting Tuesday afternoon, the NC is scheduled to hold an office-bearers´ meeting Wednesday morning to review the party´s position on the issues.
UDMF coordinator Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar said they have decided to keep trying until Wednesday to arrive at consensus on the contentious issues."I have been saying that the natural course in case there is no agreement on those issues would be to go for fresh elections" he said, adding that they are ready to form a national consensus government once there is agreement to go for fresh elections.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who was also present at the meeting, told media that the discussions focused on resolving the contentious issues of the new statute so that the CA could be revived for a short period to promulgate the new statute.
"Discussions can be held on forming a new government or holding fresh polls if there is no agreement on reviving the CA," he said.